Pioneering venture capitalist John Martinson is donating $3 million to New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Newark, to broaden and deepen the curriculum and real-world experiences for top scholars at its Albert Dorman Honors College (ADHC) and throughout the university.
The largest single gift in the 27 years of ADHC will enable the college to add two new educational tracks; triple the number of scholars in the Honors Summer Research Institute; more than double the number of scholars who study abroad; add internships and cooperative educational experiences; restructure its course offerings; and create new opportunities for faculty affiliations in the college, according to ADHC Dean Louis Hamilton.
The donation will benefit some 650 Albert Dorman Honors Scholars as well as the nearly 300 Dean’s Scholars at the university’s five other colleges.
“The new or enhanced activities and initiatives made possible by this exceptionally generous commitment will expand the Albert Dorman Honors College’s capacity for developing in all of its students the scientific knowledge, technical skills and personal skills and traits that will make them thoughtful, conscientious and civic-minded STEM leaders for the 21st century,” NJIT President Teik C. Lim said.
Martinson is chairman of Martinson Ventures, which has financed and guided more than 50 private companies, particularly in the software and technology sectors, with total investments of $2 million to $5 million. Earlier in his career, he founded Edison Partners, which invested more than $2 billion in 230 companies and realized 180 exits. Martinson is also co-founder of both the New Jersey Technology Council and New Jersey Venture Fair.
NJIT recognized Martinson’s accomplishments in 2000 with an Entrepreneurial Leadership Award. Subsequently, he became a major donor, investing a total of $835,000 in three NJIT initiatives: its Computing Education Program, its Institute for Teaching Excellence and VITAL@NJIT, short for Virtual, Immersive, Technologically Augmented Learning. Those gifts came under the leadership of previous presidents Joel S. Bloom (founding dean of the ADHC) and Saul K. Fenster and with the guidance of former Provost Fadi P. Deek.
Martinson’s latest donation reflects his belief in the value of honors colleges, the quality of education at NJIT and the success of the programs he supported.
“What impresses me is that NJIT is growing in size and growing in national stature,” said Martinson, who holds a bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a master’s in astronautics from Purdue University and an MBA from Southern Illinois University. “I’m enthusiastic about the university’s progress, transformation and vision.”
“I’ve visited over 20 honors colleges and Dorman is among the best I’ve seen,” Martinson added. “It’s a way to attract the very top students to local institutions. And these top 10 percent become leaders on campus and after graduation.”
In recognition of Martinson’s generosity, NJIT will name its honors residence hall, the John Martinson Honors Residence Hall. A dedication will take place in the spring 2023 semester.
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